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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Is there a Double Standard with Gay Organization Reaction to Schwarzenegger and Kaine?

A post at GayPatriot on Kaine's recent actions generates lots of comment.

#GPW and NDT, you've made good points about the hypocrisy of those who criticize Schwarzenegger, but not Kaine, if and when he does sign the anti-marriage bill. A couple of things though. I’ve spent a lot of time in Virginia the last couple of years (in the blue city of Alexandria), and a lot of it wasn't pretty regarding the anti-gay attitudes in the state in general. Although NOrthern VirginiA is a blue region with mostly progressive views on gay rights, it appears that any anti-gay proposals of legislation, etc., was from the Republican side. Anyway, the sad fact is that in order to win the governorship of Virginia, one cannot be supporting of gay marriage. In fact, my recollection (although possibly incorrect) is that one of Kilgore spins against Kaine was that, if Kaine was elected then gay marriage would become legal. So, I’m hoping that Kaine hasn't decided to sign the bill yet, but clearly, if Kilgore was governor, the law would have been a done deal already.

If Kaine does sign the bill, he does deserve the same criticism from the gay community. I do see a difference here though. Kaine would be signing the bill, as opposed to vetoing it like Schwarzenegger did. Also, the consequences of allowing gay marriage are different here too. Had Schwarzenegger signed the bill, that would not have put him in danger of reelection. Kaine's vetoing the bill would have guaranteed a Republican win the next election. In any case, I see some hope in the near future for California, but not the same for Virginia. I no longer travel regularly to Virginia, and I'm afraid to say I don't miss it.

Comment by Pat — January 20, 2006

So, Pat in #44, you basically make it clear that it's all about keeping a Republican from being elected governor of Virginia.

Gov. Schwarzenegger actually did a good thing for gays by vetoing the bill as it decreases the likelihood that a harsh anti-gay marriage anti-civil unions referendum could pass in the Golden State. (Indeed, social conservatives are having trouble gathering signatures for their proposed referendum.) If the legislature enacts gay marriage (and the Governor signs the bill), watch for those supporting a referendum to gain momentum.

And as to the difference between signing a bill and vetoing one, that’s not the real issue here. The real issue is the political cowardice of Democrats on gay issues. If they can get votes by appealing to the gay community, then they will do so. But, if they risk losing votes from centrist voters by supporting pro-gay legislation, they run for the hills.

Comment by GayPatriotWest — January 20, 2006

GPW, you've got to be kidding me. I thought it was only the Democrats that were good with spin. Let me see if I understand this. It is wrong for Kaine to sign the legislation because it will help keep Republicans out of office and thus help gay rights, but Schwarzenegger's veto will help gay rights. So basically, you are essentially justifying the same type of action you and NDT are criticizing the liberals. Don't you think there will be backlash if Kaine vetoes the bill? My point is that I don't like either's actions. But they are both doing it for political reasons. Either side can have arguments as to which actions will help gay rights in the long run. It just seems like that when a Democrat does it, it is praised by Democrats and criticized by Republicans, and vice versa.

Also, a good point was made above about both parties being anti-gay. The Democrats will say nice things to gays and then stab them in the back, whereas, supposedly, you know where you stand Republicans. Sounds like a big philosophical difference, but it’s not. Both parties are simply saying things that will get more votes from their voting bases, period. We saw this with the President. While governor of Texas, he supported keeping homosexual sex a crime. But in order to become President with a broader voting bases, his position conveniently changed. I don't like it, but the political reality is that politicians like Schwarzenegger, Kaine, Bush, and Kerry are going to do the politically expedient thing many times.

NDT, I understand your distaste for the HRC as well as their hypocrisy. I understand that they have endorsed anti-gay Democrats and criticized Republicans that are more pro-gay. But I am curious if there is an example where in a race between a Republican and a Democrat where HRC endorsed a Democrat over a Republican who was more pro-gay. This goes way back, but I remember HRC endorsing Alphonse D'Amato over a Democrat for Senate once, and although he was relatively progressive towards gay rights, I don't recall him being more pro-gay than his opponent. Personally, I can only remember one instance where the Republican was more pro-gay than his opponent (in an election I cast a vote for). He got my vote easily.

The other thing is that the perception by most gays is that the Democrats are more pro-gay (or less anti-gay) than the Republicans in general. My view is that it is more than a perception, factoring in the hypocrisy of both parties. I do believe that anti-gay actions by Kerry and others should be criticized, and that (if everything else is about equal) should vote Republican if that candidate is better on gay rights. But I kind of liken liberals closing their eyes to anti-gay Democrats to liking a favorite sports team and hating their rival. When your rival does something bad, you tend to point it more than when it's your team doing the same thing. Yes, it's still hypocrisy, but that's the way it is. And one can say the same about Republicans who say that they are no more anti-gay than the Democrats. It sounds to many people that they say that to excuse their support for Republicans.

Many gay groups - including OutFront Minnesota - tend to be appoligists for Democrats, and blame the republicans. This doesn't move the ball forward.